Trampoline Park Dangers
Trampoline parks are growing in popularity and they seem to be everywhere these days. These mostly indoor play centers target the whole family for fitness (workouts), entertainment, sports (dodgeball and basketball dunking), social outings (birthday parties and events) and more. Most parks average between 25,000 and 35,000 square feet, where the trampoline courts average 45-50% of the total square footage.
A trampoline park is often a group of connected trampolines which allow one to jump, flip, and do various other acrobatics.Mostly Unregulated Industry
The trampoline park industry is mostly unregulated. The International Association of Trampoline Parks is not a regulatory body and they can only make suggestions or offer advice. A Today show report shows that only nine states have regulations dealing with trampoline parks. Safety experts say that other than not attending a trampoline park, parents and park users can only look to see if voluntary industry standards are followed and to look to see if safety monitors are in place.Waivers
Most parks require all jumpers and even observers to sign a waiver and watch a safety video. Anyone under 18 must have a waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian. Many trampoline parks enforce these waivers if you are injured or seriously hurt while using their facilities, stating they are not responsible for your injury.
Unfortunately, in Florida, natural guardians (parents) are authorized, on behalf of their minor children, to waive and release, in advance, any claim or cause of action against a commercial activity provider, or its owners, affiliates, employees, or agents, which would accrue to a minor child for personal injury, including death resulting from an inherent risk in the activity. Florida Statute F.S. 744.301 allows this use of waivers when they include the specific language as provided in the Statute.Injuries
Jumping on trampolines can be dangerous. Unfortunately, as the popularity of these trampoline parks increase, so do injuries. It is important to note that it is not just children getting hurt. Common injuries include trampoline burns, bruises, sprains and dislocations. More serious injuries include broken bones (arms, legs and ankles), neck, head and spinal cord injuries, and even death.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the number of emergency room visits from trampoline park incidents have soared, from 581 in 2010, to 6,932 just four years later. They showed that current data on netting and other safety equipment indicated no reduction in injury rates. They strongly advise parents against the use of trampolines and trampoline parks by any child, and they push for stronger rules, regulations and supervision.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends that trampolines not be used by children under six. The AAOS website reports that in 2015, there were more than 295,000 medically treated trampoline injuries in the U.S., according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, including 102,943 emergency department visits.
NBC6 Investigators reviewed 911 calls made from trampoline parks across the South Florida. In the past two years, close to 300 calls were about injuries and falls. In at least 70 incidents, paramedics showed up.
Although I don’t recommend waiving your child’s rights for any activity. If you choose to do so, at a minimum take the time to thoroughly read the waiver. Know what you are signing and what rights you may be giving up. Do not allow children younger than six (6) years of age to use trampolines. Provide careful adult supervision and make sure proper safety measures and instructions are in place before using equipment. When in doubt, do not be afraid to just walk away from the venue. The choice regarding your child’s safety and health are always in your hands.